Salt Water Taffy 5: Caldera’s Revenge Part 2

Caldera’s Revenge Part 1 came out this spring, setting up the story of how Jack and Benny face off against a whale. In this volume, the conflict concludes, but not before there’s plenty of suspense and adventure.

We start with Jack, taken aboard a ghost ship, where he’s shanghaied into working as ship boy. Meanwhile, Benny and Captain Angus are stranded at sea. They have to repair their boat and get help before setting out to rescue Jack. There’s derring-do as Jack works to prove himself and stay alive, including taking an on angry bird and coping with a melancholy captain with an extreme sense of destiny.

As always, the series is a quick but entertaining read. Matthew Loux’s strong, solid lines carve out chunks of white space, except when it comes to boat decks, cabins, and masts. There, the fine grain he draws in the planks gives the vessels a sense of age. The ghost sailors have similarly striped pants, which gives them a feeling of belonging with the boat.

Loux’s night scenes, with all temporarily quiet as the dark surrounds a ship, are something to behold. The final confrontation, with the deeply colored whale against the wooden boats, resembles an ancient woodcut, evoking the history that inspired him. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)

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